• Engage,  Uncategorized

    Bible Backgrounds: When Is It Legit to Appeal to Them?

    A few months ago, a friend expressed discomfort with appealing to culture, or “backgrounds,” to explain some difficult Bible passages. “Aren’t we just explaining away what we dislike?” he asked. “Can’t an appeal to culture become a way to change obvious meanings? Isn’t that what liberals do?” He asked great questions. Important questions. Sometimes people do use knowledge of Bible backgrounds to explain away what they dislike in the text. But that doesn’t mean all such appeals come from having a low view of Scripture. A few weeks after that conversation, I heard a Bible expert discourage appealing to Bible backgrounds to help with understanding texts because, “the text itself…